The Jakarta Post
Art restorer Michaela Anselmini (right), Italian Ambassador to Indonesia Vittorio Sandalli (left) and a representative from the palace’s cultural section, Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Bendara, visit the restoration place near Yogyakarta Kraton Museum in Yogyakarta on Monday. (JP/Tarko Sudiarno)
The Yogyakarta Palace is restoring old portraits of Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono VI and Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Hageng.
Created by maestro and pioneer of Indonesian Romantic art Raden Saleh Sjarief Boestaman in the 19th century, the paintings were displayed at the Yogyakarta Kraton Museum in Yogyakarta.
Gusti Kanjeng Ratu (GKR) Bendara, a representative of the palace’s cultural section, said they had spent two years to find the right restorer for the paintings. “We’re anxious if the paintings are not handled by an expert, as they’re items of our heritage,” said GKR Bendara in Yogyakarta on Monday.
Italian art conservation and framing consultant and restorer Michaela Anselmini has been appointed to breathe new life into the old works. Currently based in Jakarta, Anselmini has established her career since 1993.
During a media visit attended by Italian Ambassador to Indonesia Vittorio Sandalli and local curators, Anselmini demonstrated the restoration process, including removing painting from their frames, cleaning up the dust and repairing the frame as well as other damaged parts. “This process is also for educating the public [on] how to conserve paintings,” Anselmini said.
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Art restorer Michaela Anselmini (left), Italian Ambassador to Indonesia Vittorio Sandalli (right) and a representative from the palace’s cultural section, Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Bendara (second left), look at paintings in Yogyakarta on Monday. The restoration of paintings is to be finished in late February. (JP/Tarko Sudiarno)
She said she believed the damage had been caused by collision with other objects and by humidity, as they used to be covered in glass. Anselmini also discovered Raden Saleh’s signature on another painting of a woman of unknown identity.
Taking place near the Yogyakarta Kraton Museum, the restoration process is open for the public and scheduled to be completed in late February.
The restoration is also part of the museum’s 2019 revitalization. “The number of museum visitors has decreased – we are disrupted by selfie tourism. Hopefully, the revitalization can modernize the museum,” GKR Bendara said, adding that around 400 other paintings were to be restored as well.
Meanwhile, art collector and curator Oei Hong Djien said, “I’m glad, as I’ve been waiting [for the restoration] for more than 10 years,” Oei said.
He also explained the importance of properly storing the paintings during the restoration. “That is because not all paintings can be displayed, therefore, they must be stored properly, so that they won’t get damaged,” he said. (wir/mut)